English Super League club Hull Kingston Rovers has confirmed the purchase of its Craven Park stadium and up to 15 acres of surrounding land from Hull City Council.
It marks the first time the rugby league club has owned Craven Park since the late 1990s, when the stadium was sold to Kingston Community Developments Ltd (KCDL) to secure Rovers’ short-term future.
It is hoped the purchase agreement with Hull City Council will secure Rovers’ long-term future at the 12,000-capacity Craven Park, which opened in 1989.
Hull KR chief executive Paul Lakin said: “The deal, coming in a significant year for us on our 140th anniversary, is fantastic news for Hull Kingston Rovers, East Hull in particular, and the wider city.
“We now have the opportunity to explore our vision of delivering a special project with both the stadium and surrounding land. The exclusive purchase option on the land can be drawn down in separate parcels of estate over the next seven years. We will start the thought process immediately of how we can create an exciting, generational project.
“The development of the stadium and provision for elite first team/academy training facilities that will secure our long-term sustainability along with creating a campus that contributes to both citywide and local community prosperity are the key drivers behind the vision. Community engagement will be pivotal in our thoughts as to how we best deliver such a legacy project.”
Hull City Council leader Daren Hale added: “As a council, we have been working with Hull KR and KCDL for some time on this deal in order to help the club achieve its long-held ambition of owning the ground and the land near it.
“I’m pleased that now the club is free to expand and improve the stadium and the surrounding land and are no longer constrained by lease arrangements. I hope this deal will help secure the long-term future of the club.”
Estate services company Sewell Group acquired naming rights to Craven Park in January. Sewell Group replaced Hull College in the role, with the latter shifting its focus to more community-based projects with Rovers.
Last year, Hull KR set up a temporary 3,000-seat stand at the stadium to maximise fan attendance while COVID-19 restrictions were in place.
The club also launched a new Craven Streat project, which transformed the area around Craven Park on match days. The concept included live stage entertainment, a marquee with bars, local independent street food and a big screen.